Ramaphosa admin excludes LGBT people, refugees and asylum seekers from COVID-19 food aid in South Africa

The South African government’s Covid-19 aid programs, including food parcels, have overlooked refugees and asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

They include many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people who fled to South Africa to escape persecution. 
 
Human Rights Watch called on the government to “take urgent steps to facilitate support, including from donors, for refugees and asylum seekers with little access to food and other basic necessities during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.”

“The Ramaphosa administration should either ensure access to food for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, or say that it can’t meet the need and seek donors to step in and provide assistance,” said Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government is ignoring the plight of refugees and asylum seekers currently confined in their homes and unable to work to provide for themselves.”

HRW said undocumented migrants and asylum seekers live on the economic margins, a situation exacerbated by the government’s stringent lockdown measures.

“After receiving numerous pleas from refugees and asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch raised the issue with the South African Human Rights Commission, which confirmed receiving similar reports and pressed the authorities to ensure that everyone in South Africa can realize their rights, ” HRW said.

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